AASL member Elissa Malespina receives 2014 school librarian Bammy Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/30/2014


Jennifer Habley
Manager, Web Communications
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

CHICAGO – American Association of School Librarians (AASL) member Elissa Malespina was named the 2014 Bammy Award recipient in the school librarian category. Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy award is a cross-discipline award recognizing the contributions of educators from across the education field. Malespina was presented with her award by Sylvia Knight Norton, AASL executive director, and Deven Black, the 2013 award recipient. The award was presented during a red-carpet event on Sept. 26 in Washington D.C. AASL members Laura Fleming, Jennifer LaGarde, Shannon Miller and Jonathan Werner joined Malespina as nominees for the award.

"I beyond shocked and honored to win the 2014 Bammy Award," said Malespina. "This is not something I expected at all.  I learn so much on a daily basis from my fellow nominees - Shannon, Jennifer, Laura and Jonathan - and many more teacher librarians out there. Without them I would not be half the librarian I am, I cannot thank them enough!"

Elissa Malespina is the coordinating supervisor of educational technology at the Parsippany - Troy Hills School District in New Jersey. Throughout her 15 year career in education, Malespina has worked as a high school history teacher, a special education teacher, and a high school librarian. She has built a reputation as being on the forefront of web 2.0 resources and tools like QR codes and augmented reality to make her school library highly interactive.

One of Malespina’s reviewers on the Bammy Awards website wrote, “Elissa is a dedicated, passionate and innovative educator and librarian who is motivated by raising the levels of student engagement...Additionally, her willingness to share her experiences, knowledge and passion allow her to be a mentor, friend and resource to her colleagues, students, the community and members of her PLN from around the world.”

"A lot of times school librarians are the only ones in their building and have no one to really go to for advice and ideas," explains Malespina. "I was the only one in my building and because of that I needed to reach out to my teacher librarian network for advice and ideas. Now, I have taken that knowledge out of the library to help supervise and mentor librarians and teachers in my new district of Parsippany - Troy Hills in New Jersey. However, I still call on my PLN on a daily basis. I cannot stress the importance of building a network of people who you can learn and grow from. I learn more in fifteen minutes on twitter a day then a year of district professional development." 

“The Bammy Awards highlighted that it takes a village to educate children,” said Norton, who also serves as a member of the Bammy Board of Governors. “The event brought national attention to the importance of the school librarian within the education community and Elissa’s enthusiasm for her work as a school librarian added to the elegance of the evening.”

The Bammy Awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of the collective contributions being made to educate children, encourage collaboration in and across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field. The awards were created in response to the tremendous national pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, the impact of high-stakes accountability and the intense scrutiny that today's educators face.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.